Thursday, March 5, 2009

In Search of Louis

Mr. This Cat's (Not) Abroad was the one who noticed it: where were all the illegal immigrants with their groundsheets stockpiled with designer knock-off's? Granted, we've only been in Izmit for 2 1/2 weeks and 274 hours of those weeks we've been imprisoned in a classroom, but still - where are the Louis Vuitton bags, the Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses, Rolex watches (often with 2 x's) and the heaps of pirated dvds?

The obvious answer is that they're all in Istanbul or Anakara - or maybe Izmir where the sun dances on the Aegean - or anywhere other than Izmit. Perhaps Izmit's propensity for earthquakes has left a sour taste in their mouths.

... the coast guard recovered 191 corpses of illegal immigrants from the sea in 2007 and 204 heavily wounded would-be immigrants were hospitalized. The coast guards also seized 4,772 immigrants trying to pass the border by sea while the gendarmerie forces caught 42,140 immigrants crossing over land.

The number tossed about by Turkey's Talking Heads is that over 500,000 illegal immigrants - some 6,000 of which were human traffickers - have been nabbed by authorities since 1996. Turkey was once a transit country for illegals; now it is a destination country. Word must have finally gotten out abou
t the coffee here - or maybe it's the Turkish Delight.

Fifty percent of the illegals who slip past the coast guard & police - there are an estimated 1 million plus in Turkey - work as servants, nannies, prostitutes, restaurant staff, construction workers. And now English teachers.

So yes, it turns out that Turkey does have a problem with illegals and in no short time, two of them will be
Mr. This Cat's (Not) Abroad and me. We have been advised by our Trusted Colleagues at Our Place of Gainful Employment that, although we will be assisted in gaining residence visas - during which process we are obliged to perjure ourselves to Turkish authorities - work visas are about as tangible as the Holy Grail. Nice to offer a prayer to, and maybe even instigate a few wars over, but at the end of the day it's nothing but a pipe dream.

We are not too happy about this. We have been down this road before. We do not want to be caught or detained by the police. We do not want t
o be deported. But no! - my Scrupulous Supervisor has put all of my doubts to rest. No one will stop to question me - no matter that Izmit's booming tourist industry accounts for 0% of its economy - because (she assures me) I look Turkish.

I do not look Turkish.

On the other hand, I do not look Afghani or Pakistani or Myanmarese (assuredly not a word) and these people seem to make up the majority of illegal immigrants in Turkey. Or so I've been told. Besides, I'm sure there are heaps of sub-S
aharan Africans selling Versace belts in Istanbul. And phew! I don't look like them either.

Of course, I've also been told that I look Turkish.

Perhaps, just in case, I should grab a cheap pair of D & G knock-off sunglasses for a quick & easy disguise. If only I could find a pair ...


Snowflake said...

How did all those people die???

This Cat's Abroad said...

Perhaps it's best not to ask such questions.